Review: Mix Superstar (WiiWare)

SCRATCH-ficky-ficky....Wii-mix!

Lately the DSiWare service has received several musical creation tools: Music On series has provided us with a means to play musical instruments on the go, and the excellent Rytmik titles have shown exactly how awesome creating tunes on your DSi can be. Well, now it's WiiWare's turn in the form of Mix Superstar. If you're a gamer with a creative side, there's never been a better time to be living a Nintendo life.

Similar to Rytmik, the control scheme can feel a bit daunting at first. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be piecing together your own musical creations in no time. Most of the game is controlled by pointing with the Wii Remote while clicking and dragging loops onto a timeline, and you can shorten, lengthen, and layer the samples to create a full-length song. There are a thousand musical loops included across several instruments to mess around with, which makes the possibilities pretty much endless. As an added bonus, they are all royalty free. Yep, that means that you own your creations and can even profit from them!

The first loop you lay down will determine the beats per minute of the track you are creating. As explained by the tutorial, loops with the same BPM sound better together. The samples are held in a menu that automatically pops up when you bring the cursor to the bottom of the screen. To delete a loop, you simply drag it to the top of the screen. The tracks are organized by the style of music and instrument in a very easy-to-use fashion. The game includes Dance, Hip Hop, and Techno loops, but features Nintendo Pay to Play support that allows you to download additional styles of music such as Pop and Trip Hop. You can also download extra tracks for specific instruments like drums or bass. These download packs cost between 200 and 500 points and feature four to five hundred additional loops each. The excellent variety of included tracks will be enough for anyone to mess with for a good while, and the additional sample packs seem to be priced a bit high, but the additional content is there if you want it.

This isn't the sort of title where you worry too much about the graphics, but don't worry, they're colourful and fun. On top of that, all the music sounds great. The female vocal tracks are particularly excellent. Whoever this lady is, she's an amazing singer. There's a nice variety of phrases too, ranging from a drawn out "yeah" to "do you really wanna touch me? Do you really wanna know me?". The male vocals are similarly excellent, but are limited to variations of catch phrases like "jam to the beat!" or "feel the rhythm!". Still, there's a decent selection to choose from that can add some masculine flavor to your music.

The coolest feature in the game is definitely how easy it is to share your creations and put them on other devices. Once you save a song, you can simply hit the ever-present Export button to share it with a Wii friend or receive a code that allows you to download your creation as a .wav file from www.mixsuperstar.com. It's amazing how easy and quick it is. Mix Superstar also features mic support through Wii Speak or a Logitech USB Microphone to allow you to lay down your own vocals, which is like Miracle Gro for creativity. The self-recorded vocals come through loud and clear, and you can layer them with the sample vocals or any other loop.

Conclusion

If you're a music game lover, this title is definitely a strong choice for you. The great variety of loops can lead to hours of fun for the musically inclined, and even draw in a casual musician to playing around for awhile. This is a strong application that delivers on all it's promises. Considering the samples are royalty free and easy to share, it's a steal for 500 points.

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